Didjeribone Design Process

Charlie’s first Didjeribone made in 1981 came from his desire to expand the potential for didj in music. In traditional Aboriginal music didjeridus are not tuned precisely and mainly play a rhythmic drone to support a song. With Charlie’s band GONDWANA didj became the focus so more was demanded of it.

Different materials were tried. Metals were found to be unsuitable as they corrode from breath moisture and sound cold. Wood pipes tended to jam as wood absorbs moisture and the inner pipe expands more than the outer one. Plastics had none of these problems.

In 1995 Didjeribone was registered as a Trademark and the design process began to give the following qualities:

Smooth Slide Action

Custom made extrusion dies ensure a minimum clearance between the two pipes, so the Didjeribone slides effortlessly between the ten keys, but does not allow air to escape when fully extended.

Permanent & Clear Key Marks

The highest being G when closed, then there are seven keys etched into the yellow inner pipe. Running from F# down to C and extending further you can reach B and Bb.

Rubber Mouth Piece

Makes for easy contact with the lips and as the circumference is the optimum size it is easy to play, and does not require the wax often used to made wood didjeridus playable.

Flared Sound End

Give the Didjeribone a brighter and louder sound than linear shaped didjeridus.

Light Weight

Weighing less than 0.5kilograms the Didjeribone uses a minimum of materials so it can be played in a variety of positions.

Copyright Provisions

The Didjeribone’s red, yellow and black earth colours are (along with white) the earth colours of Australia and traditional Aborigine’s art. The Didjeribone recognizes the indigenous roots of the didj. Paddy Fordam agreed and was paid for the right to reproduce his ‘mimi spirit’ figure on the didjeribone and site. Many artists who have contributed to the recordings shown on the booklet have copyright for the songs they have co-written with Charlie.

The Didjeribone logo and text are copyright by Charlie McMahon. When reproducing parts of the text please cite the author and “sourced from www.didjeribone.net”


Do not expose the didjeribone to heat nor expose it to direct sunlight or water above 38 C. A didjeribone left in a car on a hot day could be warped by the heat. The instrument must be cared for like any other precision instrument. Regular cleaning inside and out with water and a soft cloth and optionally a mild detergent (e.g. dishwashing soap) is essential to keep it clean and sliding smoothly.


Bone Weight :     462 grams     16 ounces
Carton :              162 grams        6 ounces
Total weight :      624 grams      22 ounces 
Length :              950mm        37½ inches

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